Social protester indicted for pepper-spraying cop

Tel Aviv District Prosecutor's office charges Henrick Curtis with aggravated assault of a police officer.

Man pepper-sprays cop at social justice rally 370 (photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)
Man pepper-sprays cop at social justice rally 370
(photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)
The Tel Aviv District Attorney’s office on Tuesday issued an indictment for aggravated assault of a police officer against a man caught on film pepperspraying an officer during a protest last Saturday night.
The indictment states that Henrick Curtis, 29, threw a bottle at the head of a plainclothes police officer who was filming the social justice demonstration, which took place at the corner of Kaplan Street and Menachem Begin Road in Tel Aviv, where protesters were illegally blocking the intersection.
After throwing the bottle, the indictment states that Kurtis sprayed the officer with the pepper spray “against all of his face and body.”
Curtis fled the scene but was tackled by police moments later. Curtis violently resisted the arrest, a charge which is included in the indictment.
The police officer was taken for medical treatment shortly thereafter, suffering from light burns.
After the gas was sprayed Saturday night, it wafted across a broad swath of the crowd, leaving dozens coughing.
In a video Walla posted after the rally, Curtis can clearly be seen struggling with the officer, before spraying him directly in the eyes from point-blank range with a can of pepper spray he either snatched from the officer’s belt or pulled from his own pocket.
“The accused did not hesitate to stand before the officer and spray pepper spray across his entire body, while completely aware of the possibility of causing him grave harm,” the indictment reads.
Prosecutors also called on the court to keep Curtis in jail until the end of his trial, saying that because he is homeless and does not have a registered permanent address, he could very well disappear if released from custody before his trial.
Curtis’s lawyer said Tuesday that since the officer was wearing civilian clothes, his client did not know he was a police officer.
The officer, “Shin,” was wearing a T-shirt for Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party when the incident happened. Lapid’s party vowed the day after the rally to issue a complaint with the Justice Ministry and the Public Security Ministry over the incident, which included at least two undercover officers wearing Yesh Atid T-shirts as part of their disguise.
A spokeswoman for the Tel Aviv Police said Tuesday that the two officers who wore Yesh Atid shirts did so of their own volition, and not due to official orders.